CHICAGO -- With the hiring of Jamie Kompon as the new assistant coach, the musical chairs involving the Chicago Blackhawks front office and coaching staff should be over -- at least for now.
Kompon comes from the Stanley Cup-winning Los Angeles Kings, and it remains to be seen if he can help a woeful Chicago power play which ranked 26th last season. The Kings were 17th in the NHL with the man advantage in 2011-2012. The year before they were 21st. But in 2009-2010 they were ranked seventh.
Just as important -- at least for coach Joel Quenneville -- is he got one of his “guys” to fill the role that Mike Haviland vacated when he was fired after the season. Quenneville, Kompon and holdover assistant Mike Kitchen were on the coaching staff in St. Louis for a period of time when Quenneville was the head coach there. Kompon started as the video coach.
Add a player to the game for Team Quenneville, but that only comes after Team Bowman brought in former Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier as Director of Player Personnel last week. Scotty Bowman has strong ties to the Montreal organization via Serge Savard, the senior vice president of hockey operations with the Canadiens. In fact, deep conspiracy theorists might surmise that the elder Bowman was influential in the hiring of former Hawks front office guy Marc Bergevin as Montreal general manager. It removed a player from Team Quenneville and the man whom Bergevin replaced, Gauthier, now is on board with the Hawks -- and Team Bowman.
But Quenneville got his guy to work next to and now for the first time with the Hawks he has his own coaching staff. Make no mistake, this is a big year for Quenneville, and Bowman probably isn’t far off the firing line either.
With each passing day that the Hawks roster continues to look a lot like last year’s, it’s as if the Bowmans are saying to Quenneville “This isn’t about personnel, this is about coaching.” And now Quenneville can’t complain about his staff.
A lot is riding on Kompon’s hiring but even more on the season at hand. It’s a make or break year for Team Quenneville as well as Team Bowman. If the Hawks win then both sides do too. If not, one team will most assuredly be broken up -- and it starts with Quenneville and his two lieutenants.